The Delhi High Court has issued notice to Centre and others on a petition relating to the elections in the Indian Institute of Architects.
A single-judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath asked respondents Centre, IIA and others to file a reply and listed the matter for January 29, 2021. "Any election held would be subject to further orders of this court," the bench said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Rajiv Biala, who is a member of the Indian Institute of Architects. Senior advocate Darpan Wadwa and advocate Abhishek Prasad appeared for the petitioner in the matter.
The petitioner has sought directions to set aside the impugned order dated October 16, 2020, passed by SE Rizwi, Director (Admn) and Supervisor Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India, and all actions taken thereunder.
Senior counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the entire voting process is being left to the control of the individuals who are eligible for election and re-election. He said he has no objection if SE Rizwi supervises the elections including voting through an independent agency like NDSL.
The petition has challenged an order passed by the supervisor appointed to oversee the elections saying that the order under challenge unilaterally reviewed the order passed by the predecessor of the supervisor and directed IIA to conduct its elections in accordance with bye-laws whose legality and validity has been questioned.
The plea said that the "order has been passed not only without jurisdiction but is also bad in eyes of law" as it directs IIA to conduct its elections via a mechanism which is alien to IIA actual bye-laws.
The petitioner has also sought to stay the operation and effect of the Order dated 16th October and to stay the operation and effect of the Purported Resolution dated 11th April 2015
According to the plea, the IIA plays a major role in promoting the profession of architecture by organising and uniting the Architects of India to promote aesthetic, scientific and practical efficiency of the profession, both in Practice and in Education.
"To the utter shock and surprise of the Petitioner herein, SE Rizwi, Director (Admn) and Supervisor Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India, ie the successor of Sasikumar, suo moto 're-examined' and reviewed the Original Order and passed the Impugned Order overturning the Original Order," the plea said.
"It is relevant to point out that in complete disregard of the discovery made/finding rendered by Mr. Sasikumar, vide the Impugned Order it was inter alia held that the amendments made to the Bye-Laws via a purported Resolution dated April 11, 2015 (Purported Resolution) were valid and in effect, thus, the elections of the "Council" of IIA were to be conducted in accordance with the said Bye-Laws," it added.